Can a Logo Be Just Words?

Can a Logo Be Just Words?

Logos are essentially symbols or designs that portray an organization’s brand. While there are a variety of different types of logos that businesses can choose from, some might wonder if a logo that consists of just words can be enough to represent your brand.

Can a logo be just words? While there are many ways to design a logo, a logo can be just words. A logo that only consists of words is called a “wordmark” logotype and utilizes typography and font to create a brand’s visual identity through text.

While a logo can be just words, a logo that consists of only words will not necessarily look as simple as you might imagine. There are still many ways to make a wordmark logo stand out. The remainder of this article will discuss this further below.

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Can a Logo Consist of Only Words?

While there are many kinds of logos, a logo can absolutely consist of only words. A logo designed out of only words is called a wordmark logo, and it can be a great choice when it comes to branding your business. In fact, more logos than you might realize, consist of only words.

Logos are used to associate your brand with a small image or emblem. Good logos should be simple, scalable, versatile, and relevant (Paper Street). You can meet these requirements by designing a logo consisting of just words.

Just because words on a page appear uniform and dull does not mean that with a little creativity, you can create a unique, smart logo design that consists of just letters. While it is possible that a logo can be too simple or boring to represent your brand, there are still many ways to take mere words and turn them into an icon.

Many successful brands like Volvo, eBay, and Coca-Cola use wordmark logos, but their logos are so effective that we tend to see them as images. So do not think a logo cannot successfully portray your brand just because it consists of only words.

There are many ways to customize a wordmark logo in order to make a brand stand out. Below is a more in-depth look at the wordmark logotype.

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Why a Logo Can Consist of Only Words

While there are many kinds of logos and tons of great examples of effective logos out in the world, many of them consist exclusively of words. A wordmark logo is a logo that consists of only words. Using color, typeface, and shapes, you can create a wordmark logo that is still visually memorable.

While you might be tempted to think a wordmark logo is as simple as choosing a font and typing, “good wordmarks are carefully crafted to have a visual rhythm throughout the word, balancing white space, line weights, and the way the letters interact with each other” (Jessica Jones Design).

While it is possible for a logo to be too simple, there are many ways you can alter the appearance of the words in your wordmark logo to make it a memorable representation of your brand. Understanding what kind of variations you can add to a wordmark logo can keep you away from an oversimplified design.

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Logos Often Confused with Wordmark Logos

While the difference between a wordmark logo and a pictorial mark logo, a logo that features a pictorial symbol as opposed to words, is rather straight forward, there are a few logotypes that are closely related to the wordmark logo but are considered different logotypes.

Lettermarks Are Not Wordmarks

A lettermark logo is a logotype that utilizes monograms, initials, abbreviations, or acronyms as their design. They are different from wordmark logos because they do not utilize whole words. An example of a lettermark logo is H&M.

Combination Marks Are Not Wordmarks

Combination mark logos feature a mix of characteristics of the pictorial mark logotype, lettermark logotype, and wordmark logotype rather than strictly adhering to one of these categories. An example of this logotype is the Airbnb logo. (Source: Jessica Jones Design)

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Can a Logo Be too Simple?

Recently there has been some debate over whether some logos for big companies are too simple. Most logos that people argue are too simple are wordmark logos that consist of a generic-looking or commonly used font and uniform sizing and color.

The reason why these logos are too simple is not that they consist only of words but because the viewer feels like they have seen it before. Good logos make viewers uniquely associate their product with an icon. While it is possible that a logo can be too simple, some people prefer a simpler, more elegant design for a clean, fresh looking logo.

The point of a logo is not to be a stunning piece of art but to make it easier for consumers to identify your brand. You should not be afraid that just because a logo consists of only words, its design is unmemorable and bland. You can change the appearance of words to create something that stands out in people’s minds.

There are many ways to customize wordmark logos in order to make them look interesting and, therefore, more memorable. You can use color, shape, font styles and sizes, or even create your own font for your wordmark logo. A wordmark logo can be memorable and unique to your brand’s aesthetic.

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Are Wordmark Logos Right for You?

Want to know if wordmark logos are right for you? Read on for some of the benefits of the wordmark logotype, as well as what kind of companies go for this method of branding in order to determine if it is the right move for your logo designing journey!

Using a wordmark logo has some advantages to your brand’s image in comparison to its pictorial mark and lettermark counterparts. Here are a few reasons why your brand might benefit the most from a wordmark logotype:

  • It can turn your brand name into an icon. Wordmark logos can make new brands easier to remember.
  • Many pictorial logos look less than spectacular. Nailing a pictorial symbol that conveys your brand’s message is much harder than designing a wordmark logo and can often look confusing or unrelated to the brand it represents.
  • Wordmark logos can cost less than pictorial logos. Designers often charge more for pictorial logos than wordmark logos because they require more effort and skill to create. Wordmark logos can be a budget-friendly option for your business.

The advantages of wordmark logotypes align with certain organizations in particular. Organizations where the company offers something that is hard to visualize often go for this kind of logo. For instance, some companies that use the wordmark logotype often are:

  • Businesses that offer a wide variety of goods and services. These businesses often have a harder time summarizing their brand in one graphic image.
  • Businesses that offer professional services. These businesses, like law offices, tend not to have many logo-friendly graphics associated with their purpose.
  • Software and tech companies. It tends to be difficult to represent tech-related work as a simple graphic image.
  • Businesses in rapidly changing fields. Businesses in rapidly changing fields, like beauty and fashion, tend to go for a wordmark logotype because they tend to look less dated than a graphic.

(Source: Branding Compass)

Keep in mind that there are some circumstances when more visual options might be more appealing to consumers. For instance, businesses with long names might not be able to come up with logos that look clean and easily recognizable, so a visual might instead be a more accurate summation of a brand.

If it is still hard for you to decide if a wordmark logo can represent your brand, think about what brands are recognizable to you and how their logos represent them. Look at samples for inspiration and to see what route similar businesses take in their logo design endeavors.

While wordmark logos might seem plain at first, wordmark logos allow for much more variety in your design than you might realize. You have probably seen many types of wordmark logos throughout your life without even realizing that they’re just letters.

Wordmark logos often utilize different font styles to portray different tones or to represent a defining characteristic of a brand. Logo designers think about how consumers interpret brands based on font variations. By understanding a bit about how each wordmark logo variation is interpreted, you can begin to think about which ones are relevant to your brand.

Below are a few variations of the wordmark logotype and a brief description of what kinds of brands they tend to represent.

Find the Right Font for the Job

You can use size, shape, line, weight, and boldness in the graphic design of your lettering to represent your brand’s message. If you want your brand to portray authority, for instance, you might want to choose the simple, straight forward appearance of a clean, bold, font.

Be careful not to pick a commonly seen typeface or one that is already used in many brands, like Verdana or Times New Roman, as they tend to have a generic appearance even if slightly altered. There are many ways to work with typefaces to make a visual impact on your audience, so do not be afraid to look for inspiration online.

Another option to avoid is a typeface that another brand personally customizes for its logo. The Disney and Coca-Cola logo both use custom typography in their logos. You do not want to make your potential customers think of another brand when they look at your logo, do you?

If you really want to go the extra mile, you can even develop a custom typeface.

Serif Wordmarks

Serif logos are wordmark logos that use serif lettering. Serifs are the lines at the ends of the letter strokes, giving the text a more traditional appeal. An example of a serif logo is Tiffany and Co.

Serif typefaces tend to lend themselves better to traditional, classic, or academic brands, while curvy lettering or cursive can vary greatly in appearance and can emphasize a variety of tones from whimsical to refined, depending on how it is designed.

Sans Serif Wordmarks

Sans serif logos are exactly what they sound like: logos that use types of lettering that does not have serifs. Sans serif logos have a modern, clean look. An example of a sans serif logo is Mobil.

Script Wordmarks

Script wordmarks use fonts that appear more like calligraphy or cursive. The letters in this logo are going to usually be connected and can vary in how they look. Some look elegant, whereas others look more old-school and retro. The Coca-Cola logo is an example of a script wordmark.

Handwriting Wordmarks

Handwriting wordmarks are a kind of script wordmark where the lettering appears to be more handwritten. Because of the unique nature of a person’s handwriting, brands who are well known for their founder will often use this kind of logo. An example of this watermark is the Disney logo.

Add Personality to Letterforms

Creating focal points in your wordmark image can be difficult to come up with at first, but there are many ways you can incorporate points of interest in your wordmark logo. Common focal points usually include variations in:

  • Shape: Just because wordmark logos consist of just letters does not mean it cannot reference a graphic through shape. Brands like Subway and FedEx incorporate elements of their brand into the actual shapes of their logos’ letters.
  • Colors: Humans psychologically associate colors with emotions. Artists and designers use this to their advantage when they want to convey something. Colors are a great way to enhance the tone in a wordmark design Brands like Flickr, and PayPal use accent colors to make one part of their design stand out.
  • Strokes: Brands like Krispy Kreme and HP use unique letter strokes in their logo designs. The lines that a letter consists of are called “strokes” A stroke that extends above or below a letter is called a “tail.” Utilize tails to accentuate the lettering in your logo.

Good logo designs just made from great ideas coming together but through editing. While there are many ways to personalize the letterforms in your logo, having too many competing elements in one design can make your logo appear busy. Sometimes editing the ideas incorporated into your logo can be just as effective as adding another element to it.

Some ways you can tell if there are too many elements in your logo design are if the lettering connects or overlaps in ways that unintentionally add a focal point to your design or if there are too many competing colors in your design. As a rule of thumb, you should not have more than one or two focal points in a logo.

While it is good to try to make your design have a consistent look and theme throughout the logo, if you keep coming up with ideas that appear cluttered, do not take that as a bad sign. It is always better to have to edit a design with too many ideas than to have a hard time getting a design together at all.

Size and Layout of the Lettering in Wordmark Logos

There are many ways to organize the lettering in your wordmark to put a unique spin on your logo design. While your first instinct when experimenting with lettering in your logo is to make them appear as uniform as the words in sentences and books, you can actually add many variations to lettering while still being able to recognize a word.

Take this as a chance to explore creative layouts. For instance, you can play with the spelling and capitalization of the words in your logo. Varying spelling and capitalization is a great way to take ownership of a word.

Even though Apple’s logo is a picture, you know a product is related to apple the second you see a lowercase “i” tacked on to the beginning of any word that begins with a capital letter. Wordmark style branding can strike an image in the mind of a consumer when done well.

You can also change the appearance of your wordmark logo by trying different letter arrangements or even overlapping the letters to create a unique symbol. Do not be afraid to make letters vary in size or spacing. There are so many ways you can add a creative kick to your logo’s layout and make your wordmark logo resonate with viewers. (Source: Logo Maker)

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Logos do not have to be graphics in order to be visually intriguing. A wordmark logo can grab people’s attention just as much as a logo that relies on pictures. Wordmark logos are just as customizable as other logotypes and can be a great way to brand yourself or your business.

For all other design needs, we highly recommend trying Placeit. It offers a large library of templates for every design project.